First Published: 2013-01-16

 

Morsi explains to US: My comments on Israel taken out of context

 

Egypt President stresses his commitment to full respect for ‘religions, freedom of faith, religious practices, especially heavenly religions.’

 

Middle East Online

No apology, but brief clarification

CAIRO - Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi said on Wednesday that comments on Israel attributed to him before he was elected, slammed as deeply offensive by the United States, were taken out of context.

"The president stressed they were taken from comments on the Israeli aggression against Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, and stressed the need to put the remarks in the right context," said a statement from the presidency issued after Morsi met US Senator John McCain.

According to a TV clip released by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), Morsi refers in a 2010 interview to "occupiers of Palestine" as "blood suckers and war mongers, and descendants of pigs and apes."

"We must resist them with all forms of resistance. A military resistance in Palestine against these Zionist criminals assaulting the land of Palestine and Palestinians," he says in the remarks to Quds Channel three years ago.

In Wednesday's statement, Morsi "stressed his commitment to the principles he has always insisted on, including full respect for religions, freedom of faith and religious practices, especially the heavenly religions."

Morsi also "stressed the need to differentiate between Judaism and its adherents from (those who practise) violent actions against Palestinians."

He also "stressed the importance of building a strategic relationship between Egypt and the United States based on mutual respect and shared interests."

On Tuesday, Washington condemned Morsi's remarks and urged him to clarify his views.

"The language that we've seen is deeply offensive," State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said, adding "we think that these comments should be repudiated, and they should be repudiated firmly."

Morsi, who was a leader of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood, came to power in June as the Arab nation's first democratically elected president, following the 2011 uprising that toppled Hosni Mubarak.

Nuland said Washington had already raised its concerns about the television clip with Cairo, and stressed again that Congress, which has blocked part of $1 billion in extra US aid, was watching the new Egyptian leadership carefully.

"We completely reject these statements, as we do any language that espouses religious hatred. This kind of rhetoric has been used in this region for far too long," she told journalists. "It's counter to the goals of peace."

"President Morsi should make clear that he respects people of all faiths and that this type of rhetoric is not acceptable or productive in a democratic Egypt," added White House spokesman Jay Carney.

The two administration officials stressed, however, that since coming to office, Morsi had reaffirmed Egypt's commitment to the 1979 peace treaty with Israel.

He had done so "in both word and deed, and has proven willing to work with us toward shared objectives, including a ceasefire during the crisis in Gaza last year," Carney said.

Washington would judge Morsi by both what he says and what he does, Nuland added.

 

Egypt court hands Al-Jazeera reporters three years in prison

Brief truce between Syria regime and rebels collapses

Deadly terrorist blast rocks Karanah suburb in Bahrain

Mounting death toll of security forces triggers questions in Turkey

Toll in Libya shipwreck tragedy rises to 111

Kurdish forces free seven Iraq villages from clasps of ISIS

UN to host new round of Libya peace talks next week

US names ‘First Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs’

Al-Qaeda lashes 10 in Yemen for blasphemy, alcohol

Turkey PM to form cabinet ahead of November polls

Iraq PM orders forces to prepare to open Green Zone

71 'Syrians' dead in Austria truck tragedy

UN conference on plight of minorities persecuted by IS

Spain judge accuses suspect of running IS Morocco network

Yemen army recruits 4,800 southern fighters

Israel to use agriculture to win friends in Africa

Syrian refugees desert Middle East for Europe

At least 76 die as boat sinks off Libya

UN pursues Syria chemical weapons probe

US says IS cyber jihadist killed in Syria strike

Iran premieres big-budget epic film 'Muhammad'

S.Sudan govt calls peace deal 'reward for rebellion'

Serbia, Macedonia urge EU action on migrants

South Sudan peace deal given cautious welcome

Two Iraqi generals in Anbar suicide bomb attack

IS seizes five villages from rebels in Syria's Aleppo

Syria regime, rebels agree new 48-hour truce for three towns

Shebab gunmen ambush Somali army convoy

Iraq PM plans to implement constitutional reform

Muslims not doing enough to fight IS: Queen Rania

Lebanon charges radical Islamist Al-Assir with 'terrorism'

Qaeda group blows up Yemen army HQ in Mukalla

Palestinian rivals agree ceasefire in Lebanon camp

New migrant tragedy in Mediterranean: 40 people dead, 2,000 in danger

Tehran's shoe-shine man in a red stiletto

Saudi King to meet Obama next month on first trip to US as monarch

Turkey PM invites pro-Kurdish MPs into caretaker cabinet

Car bomb attack kills Syria opposition commander in Turkey

Arab League postpones meeting on joint military force

Erdogan sends clear message to voters: It’s either AKP or instability!

South Sudan leader meets regional leaders ahead of peace deal

Saudi Arabia ‘holding’ key suspect in 1996 Khobar bombing

Israel releases second group of migrants from desert facility

US military may have skewed reports on progress against ISIS

Aid groups launch joint call to end Gaza blockade